2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
User avatar
Galstaff, Sorceror of Light
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 2247
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:40 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:18 pm

Hey, Dr. Prince, we have reached conclusions on a number of things to fix and agreed several days ago that Hannah Kirsch was going to post here about them. She's the Communications VP and as such is the person qualified to speak for PACE. I really don't know why she hasn't posted yet, but hopefully that will happen soon. Please don't assume we don't care about what went wrong, as a lot of us are very upset about it as well and committed to running a better tournament next year.
Sam (Sarah Angelo) Luongo,
Maggie L. Walker Governor's School 2010 / UVA 2014 / VCU School of Education 2016
President, PACE
Member, ACF

User avatar
Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite
Auron
Posts: 1135
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:46 pm
Location: Fairfax, VA
Contact:

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:28 pm

MLWGS-Gir wrote:Hey, Dr. Prince, we have reached conclusions on a number of things to fix and agreed several days ago that Hannah Kirsch was going to post here about them. She's the Communications VP and as such is the person qualified to speak for PACE. I really don't know why she hasn't posted yet, but hopefully that will happen soon. Please don't assume we don't care about what went wrong, as a lot of us are very upset about it as well and committed to running a better tournament next year.
If a person isn't doing their job, especially something as important as communications at this point in time, wouldn't it be best to have someone else inform us of said conclusions? It sounds like all of PACE were privy to the discussions, and I don't think people are going to care whether or not it's the VP of communications saying stuff, just as long as it's someone.
Harry White
TJHSST '09, Virginia Tech '13, PACE Member
Tournament Database Search
Quizbowl Schedule Generator
Will run stats for food

User avatar
Not That Kind of Christian!!
Yuna
Posts: 847
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:36 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:55 pm

My apologies; the reason I haven't posted yet is a poor one, namely that this is an academically intense time in my life and I got very distracted by some things that were going on in that arena.

In any case, I can assure you that the only "secret cabal" working on these issues is the entirety of the PACE membership discussing items in tandem. Obviously, some of these issues are going to need to be hashed out more fully before we can propose solutions--for example, the role of PACE in the community--but here are a few things we have discussed in totality:

1. As players, coaches, and staffers have pointed out, the long delay in the opening meeting and disorganization surrounding that meeting got the day off to a bad start. In the future, we will ensure that all essential information for the tournament is contained in folders handed out to teams; thus, the opening meeting need not wait for teams who otherwise would have only word of mouth as a source for that information.

2. A major issue that, again, has been pointed out by players, coaches, and staffers of this year's NSC was the degree of disorganization in control rooms and staffers. In the future, as in NSCs past, we are going to make absolutely sure that each staffer knows his or her role long before arriving at the tournament site. Vehicle logistics will likewise be firmly in place long before the tournament. Additionally, the control rooms will be in communication with TDs and each other and will be aware of who has the authority to make various types of decisions, for instance, those involving protests.

3. Hopefully, the problems with the closing meeting and all-star game will in part be remedied by other measures (for instance, if the tournament doesn't run late, obviously the closing meeting won't be a rushed affair). But in the future, we will absolutely provide concrete information as to the time and location of the closing meeting, and we will make sure that all parties who cannot be at the meeting receive necessary closing information regardless.

I am aware that some of these points sound obvious, even simplistic; however, we do want the community to be aware that we're bringing them up and rehashing what went wrong so that next year it can be done right. Other logistical points under discussion include the location of future NSCs and the building distribution of gamerooms so that delays are not exacerbated by transit between buildings. Again, I'm sorry for allowing my academics to interfere with my PACE position to this extent; it won't happen again. If you have specific questions, feel free to e-mail me.
Hannah Kirsch
Brandeis University 2010
NYU School of Medicine 2014

"Wow, those Scandinavians completely thorbjorned my hard-earned political capital."

User avatar
Not That Kind of Christian!!
Yuna
Posts: 847
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:36 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:59 pm

A Barehanded Telethon Mirth Gun wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote:Hey, Dr. Prince, we have reached conclusions on a number of things to fix and agreed several days ago that Hannah Kirsch was going to post here about them. She's the Communications VP and as such is the person qualified to speak for PACE. I really don't know why she hasn't posted yet, but hopefully that will happen soon. Please don't assume we don't care about what went wrong, as a lot of us are very upset about it as well and committed to running a better tournament next year.
If a person isn't doing their job, especially something as important as communications at this point in time, wouldn't it be best to have someone else inform us of said conclusions? It sounds like all of PACE were privy to the discussions, and I don't think people are going to care whether or not it's the VP of communications saying stuff, just as long as it's someone.
All of PACE is privy; if you want input from this year's TDs or Trygve in his capacity as president, feel free to ask for their opinions independent of my posts.
Hannah Kirsch
Brandeis University 2010
NYU School of Medicine 2014

"Wow, those Scandinavians completely thorbjorned my hard-earned political capital."

User avatar
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Chairman of Anti-Music Mafia Committee
Posts: 5640
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:46 pm
Location: Columbia, MO

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:30 pm

My apologies; the reason I haven't posted yet is a poor one, namely that this is an academically intense time in my life and I got very distracted by some things that were going on in that arena.
You get graded for maintaining http://bakingbored.blogspot.com/?
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:38 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
My apologies; the reason I haven't posted yet is a poor one, namely that this is an academically intense time in my life and I got very distracted by some things that were going on in that arena.
You get graded for maintaining http://bakingbored.blogspot.com/?
Hannah could equally have said that she was waiting on responses from certain other members of the organization, myself included, who hadn't yet contributed to the thread Sarah mentioned, in order to make a post that best represented PACE's position; instead she took responsibility onto herself. Feel free to miss the point, though.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Not That Kind of Christian!!
Yuna
Posts: 847
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:36 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:39 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
My apologies; the reason I haven't posted yet is a poor one, namely that this is an academically intense time in my life and I got very distracted by some things that were going on in that arena.
You get graded for maintaining http://bakingbored.blogspot.com/?
Charlie, I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from attacking the "extracurricular" that keeps me sane and healthy enough to put in the three to four hours of class and three to four hours of studying med school requires each day.

(Incidentally, though, thanks for the blog traffic.)
Hannah Kirsch
Brandeis University 2010
NYU School of Medicine 2014

"Wow, those Scandinavians completely thorbjorned my hard-earned political capital."

Angry Babies in Love
Yuna
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:09 pm
Location: MD//DC

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:42 pm

Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote: (Incidentally, though, thanks for the blog traffic.)
I might take a stab at the carrot cake cupcakes, those look really good!
Raynell Cooper
Arcadia ES '04
Richard Montgomery HS '11
George Washington University '15
University of Maryland, College Park '17
Hella things, National History Bee and Bowl

User avatar
Not That Kind of Christian!!
Yuna
Posts: 847
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:36 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Wurzel-Flummery wrote:
Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote: (Incidentally, though, thanks for the blog traffic.)
I might take a stab at the carrot cake cupcakes, those look really good!
Thanks! </thread derail>
Hannah Kirsch
Brandeis University 2010
NYU School of Medicine 2014

"Wow, those Scandinavians completely thorbjorned my hard-earned political capital."

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8411
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:05 pm

Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
My apologies; the reason I haven't posted yet is a poor one, namely that this is an academically intense time in my life and I got very distracted by some things that were going on in that arena.
You get graded for maintaining http://bakingbored.blogspot.com/?
Charlie, I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from attacking the "extracurricular" that keeps me sane and healthy enough to put in the three to four hours of class and three to four hours of studying med school requires each day.

(Incidentally, though, thanks for the blog traffic.)
Well, I won't be stupid enough to let Hannah shift the blame for her yearlong interpretation of the "communications director" role as being a black hole from which no communication can escape onto me by actually banning you, so I'll just publicly remind you that this is the second time you have attempted to tell someone how they may post in a PACE-related thread, and that is not a privilege you hold on the board. I will leave the conclusions as to why PACE has a "communications director" whose response to criticism of PACE's communications strategy from a coach of a team that attended the NSC is to tell him to shut up, to individuals.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
millionwaves
Auron
Posts: 1360
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:35 pm
Location: Urbana, Illinois
Contact:

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by millionwaves » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:27 pm

Dr. Prince and others, first, let me again extend our apologies for the logistical and other issues that your team faced this weekend. I can't underscore enough how embarrassed we are to have run a tournament like that. I sincerely hope, however, that you'll reconsider your decision not to attend next year's NSC. As advocates of good quizbowl, recognize that we have a lot to improve on next year, and I hope you'll take my word for it that we're going to work our hardest to make sure that we do. I want to thank everyone for their patience as we continue to discuss these issues, and I would like to personally solicit feedback from teams as the process continues, especially if we're not publicly addressing something that you think we should be. We may already be talking about it, but if we're not saying something about it, we should be. You can e-mail me at trygvemeade@gmail.com.

I want to take a moment to address what Coach K said, and, indirectly, what Dr. Prince said. I believe that he is absolutely correct that PACE has a responsibility in the quizbowl community to run a tournament that serves as an example for other tournaments to follow so that advocates of pyramidal questions and fair competition formats have something to point to. He's also absolutely correct, and I'm ashamed to say this, that we didn't do anything approaching a good job of that this year.

But we are absolutely committed to getting it right next year. It's correct to point out that we're not through discussing the changes that will be made before the 2012 NSC to ensure that the same problems don't recur. We have, however, already come to several conclusions about where the problems came from and what we're going to do next year to solve them. Here's what I can tell you all so far:

1) One of the worst problems that we had this year was a lack of foresight in timing, which led to us making some poor decisions. Examples of those poor decisions include honoring Ms. Gittings Saturday morning, which meant both that it had to be extraordinarily abbreviated (and if you're reading this, Ms. Gittings, I'm very sorry about that!) and that it would hold up the tournament. Another such decision was holding the PACE meeting Saturday after rounds, which, to my chagrin, I later found out held up the statistics, which led to teams getting inexcusably late text messages asking them to return early in the morning for tiebreaker rounds.

Next year, we'll have much more in depth planning sessions related to the exact timing of the tournament, so that everything happens at the correct time.

2) Another issue was the format's long delay Saturday afternoon. It created a very long space of dead time for teams while we rebracketed, and we recognize that teams are not interested in sitting around enduring dead time while they could be playing quizbowl. We had hoped that this year's format would place the lunch break and the rebracketing coterminous. The reason why that didn't work out is that the format that we chose this year was extremely vulnerable to time delays, so because one of the brackets was late reporting back, it's my understanding that the rebracketing didn't get started until much later than it should have.

While I initially liked the format, it's my conclusion that it wasn't the right way to go. We haven't come to any sort of a conclusion on this yet, nor, unfortunately, do I expect us to, but when we choose next year's format, we'll make sure that it minimizes the amount of dead time that teams experience while they wait for us to do statistical calculations behind the scenes. But because all bracketed tournaments have statistical delays, if we choose a bracketed format next year, while we will attempt to minimize them, we'll also ensure that teams know exactly what's going on with the rebracketing and, perhaps, have something interesting to do during breaks (my personal suggestion was scrimmages, if they're long enough).

3) A third issue that we faced this year was poor communication between TDs, control room staffers, and moderators. This led to situations like the incredibly regrettable protest resolution. I'm sorry to say that this isn't a problem that we foresaw, although we should have. This problem is and was last weekend especially insidious, because it feeds off of other problems already present and then makes them worse. It was especially bad because the staffer meeting was unfortunately very abbreviated due to the Saturday meeting starting late.

I want everyone to know that this is something that we're very committed to making sure happens correctly next year. We'll have much more clear instructions for all of the staff so that they know exactly how they're supposed to handle situations that arise and who to communicate with in order to address situations that come up like the protest this year. We'll also have much stricter controls about who has access to the tournament directors.

4) A fourth issue that exacerbated the communications issues this year was that the tournament was spread out across the campus, which led to us having some very contorted control room placements. We should have foreseen the problems that arose from that, and we didn't.

Next year, I don't think it's likely at all that we'll consider tournament sites that don't allow us to have a much more favorable geographical situation. We've had two offers already and I think a third is likely; all three of them seem likely to eliminate the problems that we faced from the campus.

5) The fifth is not a problem unique to the NSC (although it happened there in spades, too), but this year, we've been simply awful at communicating with teams.

We haven't had much of a chance to figure this one out yet, as we've been focused on problems unique to the NSC thus far. But as we turn our attention away from those problems, I'm very confident that we'll come up with a solid plan to make communications happen much better this year.

It has only been a week, and unfortunately, the problems that happened this year can't be solved in one week. It's going to be a year long effort. But we want everyone to know that we are absolutely committed to ensuring that next year's NSC will be the best one yet. In the mean time, I'd like to reiterate my sincere request: contact me at trygvemeade@gmail.com if we're not publicly addressing something that you'd like us to. I realize that we have a lot to make up for, but I hope that we'll be able to convince everyone to compete at next year's NSC.
Trygve Meade
Illinois, ACF

Above the Star-Apple Kingdom

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6613
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:12 am

One way to better improve communication would be care in choosing who holds communication posts. With all due respect to the people in the Communications and Outreach posts, both were extremely busy this year on an academic and personal level, which led to less than optimal production from these positions (an opinion I have heard from the people in these positions themselves, even Hannah in this own thread).
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
millionwaves
Auron
Posts: 1360
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:35 pm
Location: Urbana, Illinois
Contact:

Re: 2011 NSC: Tournament Logistic Discussion (not the set)

Post by millionwaves » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:19 am

Absolutely, Mike. We'll certanily be bearing those, and other, concerns in mind next year when choosing people to fill leadership positions.
Trygve Meade
Illinois, ACF

Above the Star-Apple Kingdom

Locked